This Is What's Really In Bologna

Bologna is a popular sandwich meat that you can find in grocery store aisles, butcher display cases, and in many of our refrigerators at home. It's a popular meat choice due to its low pricing and long shelf life, but before you throw another slice of bologna on your sandwich, have you ever stopped to consider what this mystery meat really is? Think about it. We know sliced turkey meat comes from turkey, and a chicken filet comes from a chicken, but what about bologna?

Mental Floss shares that this common sandwich meat is named after a city. Bologna in northern Italy is the deli meat's namesake. However, the city's original version of the meat looks nothing like the processed slices you are used to seeing in the U.S. According to HuffPost, bologna is one of the many products that has undergone a cosmetic change since setting up camp stateside. The original bologna is what Italians call mortadella. Mortadella is thick and it's speckled appearance is from the portions of fat, crushed peppercorn, or even sometimes pieces of pistachios that have been blended into the meat. Whether you find the original product, or the smoother texture of its Americanized transformation more appetizing, both bologna and mortadella are made with the same ingredients — minus the pistachio chunks, of course. 

So, besides a heaping spoonful of Italian history, what else is bologna made of?

Bologna is made with a distinct blend of spices

According to HuffPost, bologna is categorized as a sausage, which in many cases is code for a mixture of meats. This deli meat is often made through a blend of pork and beef. Although Mental Floss shares that one of the most popular bologna manufacturers in America, Oscar Meyer, primarily uses pork and chicken to make their product. Many companies are reluctant to admit which part of the animal is used, as they are often the less desirable parts in their meat mash-up.

Ok, so we've managed to find out the most common sources of meat used to make bologna. But there is a particular non-meaty taste that is specific to bologna that we're also curious about. Its distinct taste likely comes from the blend of spices used. HuffPost shares that this popular lunch filling is made with a blend of spices including black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, allspice, celery seed, and coriander.

So there we have it. Bologna — the lunch meat, not the Italian city — is made up of various meats, a specific mix of spices, and sometimes pistachios! It's clear from the nearly century-long love Americans have had for this sandwich meat that bologna has continued to withstand the test of time as a lunchtime favorite.